Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Cardinals signed Alex Reyes out of the Dominican Republic, but it was not a conventional Latin American signing.
The comparisons are going to be inescapable: The last right-hander the St. Louis Cardinals signed for about a million bucks out of the Dominican Republic was Carlos Martinez, now one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Alex Reyes is his own pitcher, but he's 18 and just got $950,000, so we'd probably be excited about it anyway. Until we see him pitch in professional ball, though, the most interesting thing about him is the odd story of his eligibility: Reyes has spent the vast majority of his life not in the D.R. but N.J.--that is, New Jersey.
According to Ben Badler's exhaustive Baseball America report, Reyes only moved to the Dominican last winter, after playing high school ball in the states. After a year in the country, living with family members, he was eligible to escape the draft and sign with whomever he wanted.
That's a loophole they might take a look at in the next CBA. But in the meantime it means that Reyes, with the benefit of having played American high school baseball, might be somewhat more polished than the average international-signing teenager. If nothing else, he'll probably be able to skip the culture-shock phase that comes with moving from the only home you've known, earning a ton of money, and becoming a professional athlete all at once. For more on his repertoire and his future, check out Future Redbirds's report on him.